Blaze a trail
Bright spark Jason Parnell-Brookes shows you how to create fiery wire wool light trails
Create sparky light trails using burning wire wool and long exposures
Red hot glowing embers raining onto the walls and floor is reminiscent of a scene inside an iron works. However you don’t need an industrial building for this – you can create a blazing trail of metal sparks in your garden, as we’ll show.
This tutorial involves setting steel wool on fire, so obviously the crucial thing here is to take complete care of yourself and your surroundings. Safety is always paramount. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to wear sturdy clothing made from a material that won’t melt or catch light if a spark hits it, such as jeans or heavy-duty cotton overalls. Protective goggles will also come in handy, if you have them.
Be careful not to let the embers smoulder on the ground. Take some water or sand along to extinguish the heat from any cinders before walking away from your location. If the weather has been particularly dry or you’re feeling anxious about it, head to a location which is free of grass, leaves and trees. Stone structures work well – we used a concretesided tunnel for our shot.
We visited a hardware shop to get the wire wool. We’ve listed everything else you’ll need on the left, but it’s worth noting that the finer your steel wool, the better it will burn. We also grabbed a whisk out of the kitchen drawer; make sure you use a metal one for this technique.